Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - August 30, 2017

Whew!  Life has intervened in the last couple of weeks and I missed last Wednesday entirely!  I've been quietly working on some stitching projects tho, so let me catch you up on things.

I put in 6 days' worth of work on my Chatelaine, the Desert Mandala pattern.  I'm still working on the first section, which is the center of the design.


I'm stitching this with the called-for threads, DMC and various hand-dyed silks, as well as some Petite Treasure Braid.  It's stitched on a 28-count Jobelan from Picture This Plus in the colorway Calypso.  I added in the trunk of the tree, another one of the sunset colors and extended the lightning bolt down.  I also finished the interior (magenta-colored) border, and the 1 over 1 coyote howling at the moon.  I'm really enjoying this project and it'll be coming back out for another 6 days over the first week of September.

Next up, I finished the second in a pair of holiday ornaments from Hands On Design.  This is Serenity and it's a companion piece to Solitude, which was featured as a finish a couple of posts ago.


I stitched this 2 over 2 on a hand-dyed Wichelt Jobelan fabric called Twilight Mist.  The floss is mostly Gentle Arts Threads, but I did replace one color with a sparkly Petite Treasure Braid (the snowflakes and the letters), which I like very much.  I also FFO'ed this with a scrap of cotton fabric I had in stash. 

I also worked for 6 days on Block 4 of Village of Hawk Run Hollow, which is the boarding house block.  I finished up the house (except for a bit of backstitching on the curtains) and the fence this rotation, and I started on the signpost there on the right.  I'm hoping when this comes back out in September that I'll be able to finish up this block!


This one is being stitched 1 over 1 on a 22-count Hardanger from Picture This Plus in Legacy using the DMC conversion provided for in the pattern.

Finally, I'm working on Star Weaver, which is the storykeep sized piece with artwork by Tom Cross and charted by Heaven and Earth Designs.


I've got a couple more days to work on this and I am really trying to get a page finish in!  This would then complete page 2 of 3, and I'll have just 1 more page to finish this one up.  This is being stitched on 28-count Monaco, 1 over 1 with DMC threads and a wee bit of Petite Treasure Braid.  Absolutely loving how this one is coming out!

I decided that I'm going to do the Year of WIPs 2018 being hosted by Melanie at the Soulful Stitching Facebook group.  I've got several things that were Maynia starts in 2017 that I'd like to get finished up in the next calendar year and I think that'll help motivate me to do that!  More details on that as we get closer to the year's end.

Monday, August 21, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: August 21, 2017

I finished reading A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor for week 21 and loved it as much as I did book #1.  I'm restraining myself from starting the third book in this series, but I know that'll be on the "must read" list for sometime in early 2018 - or if I get the 2017 challenge finished up early.

I zipped through week #13's topic - a book recommended by one of your favorite authors: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durrseon. Author Gail Carriger, who wrote the Parasol Protectorate series, does a blog post usually once a month about some of her favorites and this was one she recommended.  A nicely written fantasy epic-type book, albeit a short read, but a caveat that there are some fairly intense sex scenes that are probably not to everyone's personal tastes.

I'm currently reading two books:
First up, Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams for week #24 - a book with at least 2 authors. This nonfiction compilation of all sorts of social history tidbits from the late 18th and early 19th century is a fun read. Not a fast one, but I love all of the details in it about the world Jane Austen grew up in and the one which influenced her writing.

Secondly, via audiobook, I'm reading A Death in Sweden for week #15 - a book written or set in Scandinavia.  Sort of a cross between John Le Carre's writing style and the Wallander series, it's a bleak picture about the life of a former-CIA operative.  All kinds of intrigue and subtle tension that builds as the story goes along, I'm enjoying listening to this one as I craft in the evenings. A bit outside my normal sort of thing, but that's what the challenge is all about, right?

I'm starting to be a little bit worried about week #18 and actually getting that finished by the end of the year.  I think I'm going to try to get everything else completed and then, if I need to, I'll carry that over into 2018 as it's a LONG one.


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016: 
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland): A Death in Sweden by Kevin Wignall. 
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.

22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book

49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - August 9, 2017

Good progress on Shoot The Moon (mini) this rotation.  I am almost finished page 5, and this means I started the ribbons in the fairy's hair. I have perhaps 50 or so stitches left to finish up page 7, and I'm through pages 1-3 completely, so I can move my scroll frame up a bit before I work on this next time - which will be September.  Pattern is charted by Heaven and Earth Designs with artwork by Lee Ann Seed.  Stitched 1/1 on 28-count evenweave I hand-dyed in a gradient colorway called Dusk.



I then worked on my Under the Sea SAL from Lakside Needlecrafts, with artwork by Durene Jones. The clue was actually pretty quick to stitch this time - and added a manta ray to the group. I had budgeted 6 days to work on this, but I finished it up in only 3.



This is being stitched on a 25-count evenweave from Lakeside Needlecrafts.  It's a printed ombre'd fabric in watery colors that was an exclusive for this pattern/SAL.  Four more blocks to go!

Since I have a couple of extra days in this rotation, I'm going to put in a few days' work on Star Weaver from HAED, and then Sunday I'll start back to work on my Chatelaine so updates on both of those next week!

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 Reading Challenge: August 7, 2017

Still reading A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor for week 21.  (Not a lot of reading time this week obviously!)  I'm hoping to finish this one up in the next couple of days, and move on to either week 3 or week 5.

For those of you keeping score, I've added in my choices for a few weeks below in green which are ones I haven't read yet, but as a memory jog so I don't have to go looking for things I've picked. Several are ones my dad sent me, so I'm expecting to enjoy those quite a bit!


The 2017 List
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016: The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel.
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view): Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

3. A book you meant to read in 2016: Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adams.
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E":  Longbourn by Jo Baker.
5. A historical fiction: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017:  Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht.

8. A book written by a person of color: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list:
10. A dual-timeline novel: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor.
11. A category from another challenge: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
12. A book based on a myth:  Summerlong by Peter Beagle.

13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors: The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Durreson.
14. A book with a strong female character: The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations:  Prairie Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

18. A really long book (600+ pages): The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.
19. A New York Times best-seller: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading: Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read: A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.

22. A book by an author you haven't read before:  The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders.
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (linkPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg.
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain 
28. A non-fiction: The Lost World of the Old Ones by David Roberts.
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions.  Wool by Hugh Howey.
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (
link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre: Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster.
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle):  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin McCabe.
33. A magical realism novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (
link): The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Kowal.
37. A book you choose randomly: A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell.
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator: His Bloody Project by Graeme McRae Burnet.
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold):  Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase.
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (
link)
45. A book with a one-word title: Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
46. A time travel novel:  Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon.
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (
link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru.
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) : Beyond the Woods; Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran.
52. A book set in a fictional location


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Stitching Wednesday - August 2, 2017

I spent a solid 6 days working on the Desert Mandala from Chatelaine and was really happy with my progress on this piece.



This is about a quarter of the center medallion finished.  The center is worked with DMC and Petite Treasure Braid, and the outside flower motifs are worked in various hand-dyed silks.  There will be the addition of beads once I finish all of the cross-stitching itself, but I want to wait to add those so they don't get snagged or moved around too much.

For the first 6 days of August, I'll be working on my Shoot The Moon project, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs, mini size with no background.  Artwork by Lee Ann Seed.


I'm stitching this on a hand-dyed 28-count evenweave in a gradient colorway (light to darker purples), using DMC Black (310).  I've gotten the top 3 pages done - page 3 in the top right hand corner actually has no stitching in it, so that was fast, and I'm halfway through page 4 and have worked a bit on page 5.  Hoping to get to the point I can place the upper edge of the fairy figure during this rotation, but we'll see how I go along with it.

A few more days of work on this and then I'll be switching to my Under the Sea SAL for days 7-12 this month.

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

I'm pretty happy with my progress for the Tour so far this year!  I've been trying to have a goal of 15 minutes of spinning a day, o...